This sponsored post is produced by Boomtrain.

Marketers have traditionally zeroed in on two primary opportunities: converting onsite users, and trying to keep those users coming back. Both are vital to the success of your business, but they ignore a huge opportunity that’s lurking just behind the shadow of the opt-in… the anonymous user.

VentureBeat’s recent research report indicates that somewhere between 57 percent and 98 percent of your visitors are unknown. Adhering to the 80/20 rule, the top 20 percent of your visitors are producing 80 percent of your revenue. But to keep growing that 20 percent (and grow revenue), you’re going to need to create more power users. Enter, the anonymous user pool.

If you’re a content marketer, an online retailer, or a publisher, chances are you’re just sitting on an untapped gold mine of these users. If so, you’re missing out on a huge upstream opportunity: engage them, convert them, and intelligently guide them into the path of power users — growing engagement and revenue.

Here are 5 steps to create better experiences for your anonymous users and, ultimately, entice them to step out of the shadows:

1. Track every user, not just known users

Tracking data isn’t just about big data, it’s about smarter data. Today’s technology allows companies to assign IDs to every user. You don’t need to know someone’s name and email address to make this happen… you just need to watch their behavior. Then, you can begin using that data to create personalized experiences based on each visitor’s unique interests and habits. The more actions they take, the more you know. The more you know, the better the experience, and more reasons to make themselves known.

2. Put your best content forward

Relevance is a two-way street. You need to know your users, but you also need to know your content: how it’s performing, how it’s changing, and what actions it’s driving. Every day, your anonymous users give you heaps of data — why not make the most of it to improve and optimize your content? Those personalized recommendations mean you’re taking all of your content, and putting it in front of as many (relevant) eyeballs as possible. (Plus, you’ll glean insights from across your entire user base, not just the small percentage of known users.)

exclamation-001Dig deeper. Read more in the free eBook: Anonymous Users are People, Too How to engage them, convert them and turn them into power users.

3. ID early and often

Now that you’ve given your anonymous user a reason to make themselves known, you need to provide the opportunity. There are any number of mechanisms for grabbing emails, from subtle signup fields to jarring pop-ups. Provide an engaging experience, and they’ll delightfully opt in for more.

Getting to know users better isn’t a one-and-done mission, it’s a constant campaign. Your audience uses multiple devices and their preferences change over time. Your goal is to create the most complete, up-to-date profile you can on every user, known or anonymous. Across the audience journey, give them a reason to keep coming back.

4. Bridge the gap from Anonymous to Known

The email address is an invitation into the inbox. At this point, you can begin to have a more active, two-way relationship with each user. It’s vital to transfer the anonymous user data you’ve collected into that person’s identified profile, as that initial outreach to your newly identified user is likely to be the most important interaction you ever have with them. Take advantage of the opportunity and continue to build a comprehensive user profile around each person.

5. Use the Welcome Series to seal the deal

As any professional knows, the first impression is everything. Likewise, the welcome series (or first push notification) is the key to begin building brand loyalty and trust with new subscribers. Perhaps most importantly, in is the first step on the user path to becoming a power user. You probably know the alternative — upwards of 80 percent of new subscribers might never return. The Welcome Series can be the remedy. Let the user know what to expect (eg, “This is a four-part series”), and remember to keep it relevant to their behavior with your brand.

It’s essential that, as marketers, we put our best content forward at every point in the audience journey. Understanding all your users is essential, and uncovering the behaviors of anonymous users is perhaps becoming the most important step in creating long-term relationships with all your users. How many of your users are still in the dark?

Nick Edwards is CEO and co-founder of Boomtrain.

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